Written by: PP on 03/06/2009 12:09:45

Everyone knows Mike Herrera's Mxpx, the legendary melodic punk/pop punk band, but how many of you know Mike Herrera's Tumbledown? Ever since 1998 he has been writing country-tinged songs on and off for a full length release, and that has finally manifested in the form of a self titled full length album, although there were some EPs and singles before this one as well. Basically, Tumbledown's debut is an alternative country record with pop punk influences, or in other words, it is a record full of straight-forward country songs with pop punk vocals. The record's received fairly mixed reviews so far with some critics loving the new alt-country leaning of Mr. Herrera, while others think that the guitars just aren't twangy enough to justify the label for the band.

Inherently, this is Mxpx-styled catchy vocal harmonies just with alt country instrumental backing. It sounds unmistakably like Mxpx but then again it doesn't: had Mxpx been influenced by country at some point during their career, this could've been an album by them. For instance, the album opener "Let's Drink" is pure pop punk if you discount for the south-western acoustic guitars on the background. "Butcher Of San Antone" recalls bands like Tiger Army and others who fuse psychobilly and country together with punk rock. There's even a stand-up bass in the backing band's repertoire, but honestly these don't sound that different from Herrera's day job at Mxpx no matter which way you twist it.

The first three songs all keep up a high-octane pace, and we have to wait until "Movin' On" until we reach "Sweet Home Alabama"-type of vibes. This song is all-acoustic with relaxed a pace and country-styled vocals, but I have to mention that these don't work nearly as well as the pop punk influenced pieces on the record. That could be that I just don't like country though. Of the 12 tracks on the record three in total are ballads like this ("State Line" and "Son Of A Gun" being the other two), and rest just sound like Mxpx with different instrumentation, which begs the question to be asked: is the Tumbledown record really worth it? Well, if you're at all into Herrera's infectious vocal harmonies, then yes. But don't expect THAT big of a chance despite the genre-switch, or a record on par with Mxpx either.


Download: Let's Drink, Homeward Bound, Came Here To Fight
For the fans of: Mxpx, Tiger Army
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.05.2009
End Sounds

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